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Speed (1994) Poster

(1994)

Trivia

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A Fox producer realized they might have a movie hit in their hands when he noticed that, during test screenings, audience members would walk backwards when they needed to go to the bathroom so they would miss as little as possible.
Sandra Bullock actually learned to drive a bus for the film, passing her test on her first attempt.
Script doctor Joss Whedon rewrote the script uncredited. According to Graham Yost, the credited writer of Speed, Whedon wrote most of its dialogue.
The scene in which Annie (Sandra Bullock) takes the chewing gum out of her mouth and pretends to put it on her seat in order to have an excuse to change seats and move away from the obnoxious Stephens was improvised by Bullock.
Jan de Bont insisted that Keanu Reeves get a sensible haircut as would befit a hard-working cop. 20th Century Fox were horrified when they saw the buzzcut that he adopted for the film, threatening to postpone the film to allow his hair to grow back.
Keanu Reeves breaking the glass on the bus door in the beginning of the movie was an accident, however it was left in the final cut.
The 105 freeway in California had recently been completed, but not opened at the time of production. The filmmakers were given all the time they needed to complete the freeway scenes without the hassle of closing down an operating major freeway.
The bus jump scene was not in the original script, director Jan de Bont came up with the idea one day when he was driving around Los Angeles and noticed one section of the I-105 freeway was missing.
There was an instance where a schoolboy saved the lives of a schoolbus full of kids, when the driver had a heart attack, by climbing on to the driver's lap, jumping on the brake pedal and pulling the bus to the side of the road. When asked later why he did it, he told them that he had seen "that bus movie". At half time during an NFL game, there was a ceremony hailing the boy as a hero.
Keanu Reeves did approximately 90% of his own stunts.
Director Jan de Bont came up with the idea for the opening elevator sequence while working as a cinematographer on Die Hard (1988). While riding in an elevator in the building used as the skyscraper in that film, the elevator got stuck on the 40th floor, and de Bont had to climb out the escape hatch and jump onto another elevator to get out.
The film literally ran out of money before it was completed. When the film was first previewed for an audience, the subway scenes were animated story boards. The audience loved them so much, the studio came up with the funds to shoot the scenes properly.
For the bus jump sequence, a ramp was built. The bus was started from about 1 mile back and accelerated towards the ramp. When it hit the ramp it had reached a speed of 61 mph. The bus traveled 109 feet and its front wheels reached an altitude of 20 feet from the ground, which was higher than anyone had anticipated. Because of this, the cameras were not placed correctly and the top front part of the bus goes out of the frame when the bus reaches the maximum point of the jump.
Keanu Reeves initially turned down the lead as he found Graham Yost's original script to be too much like a Die Hard (1988) clone. He signed on after Jan de Bont brought in Joss Whedon to retool the script.
The watch Jack was wearing, the Casio G-Shock DW-5600C, had been discontinued when filming commenced. Due to the film's success, the watch was in popular demand and the company started making them again.
The bus jump scene was done twice, as the bus landed too smoothly the first time. The bridge was actually there, but erased digitally.
Renny Harlin and Quentin Tarantino were offered the chance to direct, but turned it down. Tarantino later named the film as one of his 20 favorite films since 1992.
The script was pitched to Paramount Studios, which placed the movie on turnaround and suggested to writer Graham Yost that his script, which called for the movie to end after everyone gets off the bus, had "too much bus" in it, implying audiences would not go for a movie in which a bus is driving around for two hours. Yost then added the subway scenes, and the modified script was presented to Fox Studios, which agreed to film the movie.
The shot when the bus enters LAX and a plane is seen taking off right behind it, took more than 50 takes.
For the bus jump sequence, the city of Los Angeles gave permission to shoot on the I-105 freeway during the last month of its construction. This required the filming crew to be constantly on the move, depending on the location of the workers. It also created continuity problems because the appearance of the set kept changing as the construction crews would erect or tear down structures.
A special bus was used for the bus jump scene. This bus was modified so that it could reach a speed of 70 mph and it was equipped with powerful shock absorbers. The driver seat was moved back 15 feet so that if something went wrong the driver wasn't ejected from the bus. The seat itself was a suspension mechanism between the ceiling and the bus floor to avoid the driver from suffering spinal compression on impact.
Glenn Plummer's driver's license was taken away two days before his scene was scheduled to be filmed.
Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro were considered for the role of Howard Payne.
10 buses were used in the making of the film. Each one had two steering wheels, one for Sandra Bullock, the other for the stunt driver which was more often than not on the roof of the bus.
There is a picture of an ocean wave on the side of the bus, more noticeably when the bus is circling the airport. That photograph was taken by Jan de Bont, for a campaign that was done for the American oceans, "Heal the Bay".
Jack's registration plate is '646 TEZ'. 'Tez' means speed in Hindi.
The bus-jumping scene was shot at the junction of the Harbor (110) Freeway and the Century (105) Freeways. The artificial gap in the freeway was created by early CGI.
Voted one of AFI's Top 100 Heart-Pounding Movies of all time: number 99.
When the police were looking at police mugshots, the first photograph was of David MacMillan, who is a sound mixer on the film.
The film was originally written with the desire that Jeff Bridges would play Jack and Ellen DeGeneres would play Annie. DeGeneres was initially desired because the role of Annie was going to be a comedic role opposite the serious role of Jack. DeGeneres denied being considered for the role in a 2015 Howard Stern interview.
There are 3 different ads on the bus and they are as follows (with their slogans): The Great LA Zoo - "Good Vibrations"; Heal the Bay - "Leave your children something to remember you by"; and Santa Monica Bank - "Money Isn't Everything. (Yeah, Right.)"
20th Century Fox were not convinced to begin with that Keanu Reeves had enough star clout to front the film and insisted on a big name actress to star alongside him. Jan de Bont refused. Fox relented to his casting of Sandra Bullock with Reeves only two weeks before shooting began.
The birds flying through the gap in the freeway were digitally added special effects.
In early drafts of the script, the bus was supposed to circle around the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium as opposed to LAX. However, the studio couldn't get the rights to film there.
John McTiernan turned down the role of director for Speed (1994). Eventually, it was decided that a newcomer should direct and the producers picked Jan de Bont, who had been in charge of cinematography for Die Hard (1988) and The Hunt for Red October (1990), two movies directed by McTiernan.
The plane cost $80,000.
Before filming began on the freeway with the gap in it, all the lines and signage had to be put in and taken out on a regular basis before and during filming. Filming took places for around two and a half weeks.
Filming at the airport took around three weeks. Was made slightly difficult when a plane's engine was being tested and it was extremely noisy.
The picture on Harry's desk is that of director Jan de Bont's wife Trish.
Paramount optioned the script first, in 1992, but did not proceed with it.
Although it was not part of the original screenplay, Keanu Reeves and Jan de Bont both agreed that miming gum chewing was an ingenious way to foreshadow Jack Traven's "gut feelings," thus exposing his thought processes to the audience. This revelation occurred after Keanu casually ad libbed this into one of the scene takes.
Writer Graham Yost named the main character Jack Traven after B. Traven, writer of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
The famous The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) sequence was the filmmakers' wry commentary on the uncompleted state of Interstate 105, which had become a running joke among LA motorists. It was finally (and quite coincidentally) completed in late 1993 shortly before the film's release, years behind schedule.
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When Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) says "Be prepared. That's the Boy Scouts' marching song", he is quoting the opening line to "Be Prepared", a song by Tom Lehrer.
Michael J. Coo is a key grip on this movie, and is the cop in the second photograph of police mugshots. The name on the file reads Michael Coo.
When Dennis Hopper blows up the batch of explosives, he says, "Don't f%$& with daddy." Hopper likes being referred to as "daddy" in Blue Velvet (1986).
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Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper both played in River's Edge (1986).
The police helicopter used by the Captain (or Lieutenant) in the movie, N599DB, spent several years thereafter in operation as C-FCPS, Calgary, Alberta, Canada's police helicopter "HAWC 1". It was retired and sold to a private citizen in late 2006.
When Jack and Harry find Howard in the freight elevator and Jack says "Mystery guest please sign in" he is quoting What's My Line? (1950).
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Sandra Bullock was previously in a movie called The Thing Called Love (1993), which was River Phoenix's last completed film before his tragic death. Phoenix was Keanu Reeves' best friend.
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Sandra Bullock plays opposite a character named Jack in at least 3 movies. Jack Traven here, Jack Devlin in The Net (1995), and Jack Callahan in While You Were Sleeping (1995).
The bus number is 2525. 25+25=50. The bus has to stay above 50mph.
The black helicopter used by Mac was a NoTar helicopter. NoTar means the helicopter didn't have a tail rotor.
Filmed on location on LA's 105 freeway before it was opened to the public.
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Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels trained with real SWAT cops to perfect their movements.
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Line producer Ian Bryce was driving the towing vehicle, which was towing the large airplane at the airport.
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The producers paid the owners of Payne's house $5,000 to blow it up. They also rebuilt it for them after filming.
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A pre-stardom Halle Berry turned down the role of Annie, without regret, even though the movie became a huge hit. She said, "It would not have done for me what it did for Sandra Bullock. I would've just been the black bus driver."
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The advert on the back of the bus reads "Money isn't everything. Yeah, right!"
At one point, while noticing Annie's sweater, Jack says that the (Arizona) wildcats have a hell of a football team. Even though Arizona had a good football team while the movie was being made, it is far better known as a basketball school.
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The medal Jack and Harry receive for rescuing the elevator passengers is the Medal of Valor, the highest award given by the Los Angeles Police Department.
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Jeff Daniels also played a character named Harry in Dumb & Dumber (1994) in the same year.
The film was originally supposed to be released in August 1994 as 20th Century Fox had concerns that the film would under perform at the box office, and they felt it would be a worthy action successor to True Lies (1994), which opened that July. However the film performed very well during test screenings, and test audiences loved it so much, which prompted Fox to move the release date up to June as their first movie of the summer season, and to provide adult action competition in comparison with the family friendly The Flintstones (1994) which opened two weeks earlier. In the end Fox made the right decision as the film grossed $121 million in the U.S. and Canada alone and $350 million worldwide against a budget of $30 million.
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In the screenplay, Howard Payne's name was Howard Fisk.
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The earrings that Annie sports are melted-down badges of Sigma Pi fraternity. Sandra Bullock was a little sister at the fraternity's East Carolina University chapter.
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The number plate of the bus '2525' was California 539724.
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The film's script was originally meant to be a vehicle for Jeff Speakman as part of a three-movie deal for Paramount that fell through.
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Jan de Bont cast Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven after seeing him in Point Break (1991). He felt that the actor was "vulnerable on the screen. He's not threatening to men because he's not that bulky, and he looks great to women".
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Keanu Reeves spent two months at Gold's Gym in Los Angeles to get in shape for the film.
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Keanu Reeves was actually tethered to the bottom of the bus for parts of one scene.
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Jack drives a 1968 Ford Bronco.
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Graham Yost was inspired by the car chase in Counterfeit World: Making 'To Live and Die in L.A.' (2003).
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According to Jan De Bont, Keanu Reeves wasn't used to playing a role requiring such extreme reactions.
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At the end of the film, Dennis Hopper puts on a police uniform to pretend he's a cop. Joe Morton (Mac) previously appeared in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), where the bad guy (Robert Patrick) also wears a police uniform throughout the film.
There is no Hill St Subway Station on the red line in L.A. But right after the station sign is shown the prevailing color chosen is blue by way of a camera lens filter. "Blues" are everywhere, even under the train platform by way of lighting that does not actually exist in the real subway system. Hence Hill Street Blues (1981).
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If the overpass was actually incomplete, there would have been signs posted and the road would have been blocked off. There is no way vehicles would be allowed to drive onto an incomplete overpass.
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Brief shots of the headsign of the bus display "33 Downtown via Freeway". The 33 is actually a local LA Metro (LACMTA) line between Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles via Venice Boulevard. The Santa Monica Blue Bus express line between Santa Monica and downtown is the 10, which operates via the 10 Freeway.
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The elevator shaft set was built with four fully-functioning elevators and was five stories high.
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Jan de Bont cast Dennis Hopper because he didn't want a typical villain. He wanted Payne to be a regular guy who just snapped one day.
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Stunt coordinator Tracy Bunting told Interview Magazine that this was "the most challenging" of her career, in particular the iconic "stroller full of cans" scene.
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When Jan de Bont first got the script and found out it took place on a bus, he thought, "That's going to be boring."
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In the original script, the bomb was triggered to go off when the bus goes over 20 miles per hour.
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Whenever a highway scene needed to be re-shot, all the cars had to return to a starting mark. Jan de Bont said, "It was a logistical nightmare."
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For some scenes, a stunt driver would control the bus from the second row of seats.
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The film was parodied in a Fat Sweaty Coppers sketch in the 1996 Christmas Special of The Fast Show (1994), which in that sketch, John Thomson's character attempts to get on a double-decker bus that has been rigged to explode if the bus's speed drop below 5MPH.
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The film was parodied in Father Ted: Speed 3 (1998) which Father Ted Crilly sets out to save Father Dougal McGuire, when vengeful milkman and womanizer Pat Mustard whom has rigged the milk float that Dougal is driving to explode if the milk float's speed drops below 4 MPH.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Jack's sidekick, Harry, was originally to be played by Ed Harris and in this version was going to be revealed as the mad bomber. However, when Ed Harris opted out, and Jeff Daniels signed, the producers felt that the audience would not accept the sudden twist in character so Harry was kept as a good guy throughout and the mad bomber written as a separate character. The idea of the hero's friend and sidekick being the villain was later used in Broken Arrow (1996), also written by Graham Yost.
The plane destroyed by the exploding bus has the logo "Pacific Courier Freight" on its side. This same name is on the truck used by the terrorists in Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) - an in joke by production designer Jackson De Govia.
The subway train that comes crashing up onto Hollywood Blvd at the ending was actually a bus, decked out to look like a subway train.
According to script doctor Joss Whedon, the Alan Ruck character (Stephens) was originally written as an abrasive lawyer, who gets his comeuppance in an unexpected death scene. Whedon re-wrote him as the sympathetic, dull-witted tourist of the final version, but kept the death scene, intending to give it more emotional impact. His character changes were kept, but the death was written out.
A "deleted scene" sees Jack shooting Howard Payne in the neck, just after he'd shot his partner in the leg at the beginning of the film. Later in the film, you can see the oval scar on Payne's neck caused by the deleted shooting.
In an earlier script, the bus driver Sam (Hawthorne James) had to be removed from the bus because he had suffered a heart attack and not because he had been shot.
The scene where the bus smashes into an empty jumbo jet plane being towed across the runway was was actually filmed at the Mojave Airport. According to the DVD Commentary, Jan De Bont says it was "out in the desert, on an old runway".
The Los Angeles airport would not allow any explosions to take place to avoid frightening travelers. The explosion scene that takes place when the bus collides with the airplane was filmed in Mojave, California.
The subway scenes were shot aboard the actual Los Angeles' Metro Red Line. They often used the same short stretch of track over & over, but most of the time, that subway tunnel you see is real. The only subway scenes that were faked in the studio were the scenes with Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper fighting on top of the train, and the last final seconds before the crash.
There was originally a scene called "Officer Baker's failed rescue" in which a bomb squad officer called Baker was going to be lowered onto the bus from a helicopter only to have to pull up when a bridge gets in the way, where he meets an unfortunate end. This scene storyboard can be found on the special edition DVD complete with optional commentary by Director Jan de Bont.
At least 12 different buses were used during the shooting of the movie: - 2 buses for exterior shots - 2 buses that were blown up - 2 buses for interior shots - 2 buses for action sequences and "hitting things" - 1 bus for the jump sequence - 1 bus modified so that it could ride on 2 wheels during the sharp right turn sequence - 1 bus slightly raised so that a man in a mechanic car could fit underneath. It was for the sequence in which Jack Traven tries to deactivate the bomb. - 1 bus with an extended platform in front so that a filming crew could shoot the driver from the front. The filming crew referred to this bus as the "pope-mobile".
All of the main characters who die in the movie have names starting with "H" (Harry Temple, Howard Payne, Helen).
Some of the shots of the subway train as it runs off the rails are of a miniature model.
The name tag on Howard Payne's policeman's uniform reads 'Fisk,' which, in early versions of the script, was the character's name, Rudy Fisk.
Richard Schiff plays a train driver when Howard Payne kidnaps Annie and hijacks a subway train in a scene that somewhat resembles The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). Schiff would later go on to star in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1998), where he plays a fired MTA worker/hijacker.
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13 people are killed in the film: security guard, Bob the bus driver, Helen, Harry, several SWAT cops, the train driver and Payne.
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The ad that appears on the tail of the first bus that explodes says "Save the Clams" was an advertisement for The Bank of Santa Monica.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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